Wednesday, July 13, 2016

WTW: Essential Effects for the Perfect Tower

All part of a well-balanced and nutritious Wizard's Tower.
Sup my fellow troglodytes. It's the okayest day of the week, Wednesday, and we all know what that means. Half off drinks at Applebees until 6! Oh, and WIZARD'S TOWER WEDNESDAY. *air horn sound* 

That's right, it's time to read more about the best format in the multiverse, and today we've got an article on the essentials. Do you need to know more about fundamentals before essentials? Well, read the original Wizard's Tower intro post right by clicking on these words. If you know your way around a tower already (heh) then press on, wizards.

"Essentials in a Wizard's Tower? I thought the point of this format was to just use the bulk I had laying around! Don't make me buy into another format, Dan!" Woah. Pull yourself together. You're wound tighter than a drum with an anxiety problem. Don't worry, you can and should still make your Wizard's Tower out of cards you already own to save cash. The essentials we're talking about today aren't necessarily essential cards, but just certain effects that every tower should have. We're going to look at four essentials, and give a few example cards for each one so you get some ideas of which style of cards you should include when starting any new Wizard's Tower.

Card Draw

Oh boy, this can get out of hand quickly. Or rather into hand. Cause drawing cards.
Every good tower will have a healthy amount of card draw, and ideally more interesting cards beyond just a Divination effect. Here's why:

Player A, B, and C are playing a game with their new tower. All three are topdecking, and the board is rather stalled. Let's pretend in the tower that these dumb idiots built, the only card draw comes from cards like Divination. Player C topdecks a draw spell. Hooray! He draws two cards, and amongst them is another card draw spell. Hooray! In the mean time, though, players A and B are just drawing a creature or a single spell per turn, and C has tons of options. Now the game is skewed in C's favor, C takes longer on his turn to decide which cards to play, and A and B are left to instantly play their one creature, then pass, and drink their beers in sullen silence as C decides how he's going to win.

Card draw in Wizard's Tower is a lot more fun and interactive if it's something symmetrical. If instead of Divination our player C had drawn something like Dictate of Kruphix, the game would be much more open. C still gets the advantage of being able to flash it in right before his turn, and therefore getting the extra card first, but then it sticks around for a while and helps everyone else stay in the game. It leads to a more fun experience for everyone, and you'll get to see more of your tower in more games. 

Good thing Kruphix has so many hands to hold all the cards he's gonna draw.
You can certainly include individual card draw, but try to include a couple symmetric ones as well to keep long games fresh. Dictate of Kruphix, Howling Mine, and Otherworldly Atlas are just a few examples. And, if I'm being honest, the only ones I can think of off the top of my head.


Just like in real life, sometimes in Wizard's Tower you just have to murder something. When that time comes, you don't want to be left without the tools to do the job.

The most aptly named card.
A lot of times just playing out your own creatures will be enough to defend yourself from attacks. Other times one player ends up with an Atarka, World Render on turn four, and you just have to kill it, otherwise the game is over in a few turns.

"Maybe I shouldn't have played this..."
If your tower is light on removal, you're fucked. Most towers don't just happen to have fliers that can come out early that can rumble with a 6/4 flying doublestrike. I mean, my collection probably doesn't even have that. Making sure you have a healthy pile of removal spells keeps this at bay, and I'd want at least fifteen spot-removal spells in any tower. In addition to that, don't forget to also add in boardwipes, creature locks (like Pacifism), and other conditional removal like fight and mind control effects. Trust me, it gets boring when all your removal is just "kill target thing."

Tower-Specific Answers

So I recently made a tower with an Enchantment and Artifact theme to it. You know what would quickly make this less fun? No Enchantment removal.

"Welp, I guess we just wait till we die now."
First off, never put that card in your tower, because the Khans option is busted as fuck. Anyways, my point still stands. In a tower playing 50+ enchantments and enchantment creatures, I need to make sure there are plenty of ways to deal with them. Reclamation Sage, Back to Nature, Naturalize, and all that jazz. Without them the boardstate quickly gets out of hand with extremely powerful effects that can't be interacted with.

On the other side of the coin, what's the point of having all of these stupid enchantments if there's just a hundred things to kill every creature that hits the field?

This will make half of the table hate you.
Obviously not everything in the deck is an enchantment, so a card like Extinguish presents an interesting choice. Do you blow up half of your creatures to kill all of theirs? Should you hang onto it until you can land some enchantment creatures of your own? Do you order your fourth chicken tendie basket? Look for cards like this that are specific for your tower, but might not be that interesting in others. Extinguish would just be a 6 mana board wipe in Gaige's tower, because he has no enchantment creatures. That's no fun.


I'm really not proud of how often I end up googling for images of this guy.
This is the most important part of every tower, and I'm sure most people reading this realize that fact. If your tower is just a bunch of vanilla creatures and boring effects, it's going to be as boring as your social life. You gotta spice it up - put in that cool mythic that never saw any standard play. The janky sorcery that doesn't actually win you the game, or even help a lot of the time? You bet it has a home in the Wizard's Tower.

My muse.
Honestly, the deck doesn't even have to be a high power level. A pile of shitty card that do funny things is plenty good, and you'll have a great time playing it.


That's it for today folks - nice and simple. Any time you start putting a tower together, this gives you a good baseline to start with. Get a pile of card draw so your games can go late, a pile of removal so nothing gets out of hand, and finally look to spice up your tower. Maybe that consists of giving it a theme, maybe it's just putting in your favorite few cards, or maybe it's making your tower mono-colored. Whatever floats your boat. But be sure you also add things to sink that boat. Otherwise we just have a giant boat and I dunno. That analogy kind of got off track. Anyways, cya next time!


There is now a HeavySalami MTGO account! Dan is using this account to mine for salt, and Gaige will be making one soon™. It'll probably be like HeavySalami_G, and in retrospect mine should have been HeavySalami_D. Ah, well, you win some you lose some. Mostly lose. Like, for real. My decks are shit and I'm not very good.

Building a tower and want some tips? Dunno if a card will be too busto to include? Want to thrash my shitty MTGO account? Whatever the case, send us a message or leave a comment below! You can also reach us on the Twitter machine @Heavy_Salami!


  1. I'm putting together a list of "Best Card Drawing that Doesn't Screw the Person playing it (too much)" to add to my checkout card. It's Prime Day or some such.

    Burning Inquiry (Everyone draw three then randomly discard 3)
    Reforge the Soul (everyone discard and draw seven. Miracle for 2 mana)
    Fevered Visions
    Anvil of Bogardan (bonus effect: no more discarding!)

    Howling Mine & Font of Mythos are alright, though I'm worried that not letting the caster draw is going to discourage people playing it. Of course, who invited Spike to your Wizard's Tower game in the first place?

    Bonus Content: award for best Mana Flare goes to...
    Mana Flare!
    Wild Evocation
    Heartbeat of Spring
    Zhur-Taa Ancient

    1. Oh shiiii, Fevered Visions would be sick as hell. More cards and punish people for durdling too hard? I love it.